Marc Jacobs – Lots of Stripes and Shiny Stuff

It is always a spectacle. Marc Jacobs is hard to read from season to season, but you can always expect a big production, long lines, gate crashers, and a lot of paparazzi hanging around. At most fashion shows there is a packet of paper on every chair called the line sheet, which tells you about the clothing, usually the color and what it is made from, like chantilly lace or angora, so the wholesale buyers know what they are looking at from some distance away from the models. The Marc Jacobs line sheet for this season says nothing about the clothing except that it exists. In fact, half the packet was a list of names that the brand wanted to thank, like movie credits on paper.

story by Charles Beckwith
photos by udor and Charles Beckwith

It is always a spectacle. Marc Jacobs is hard to read from season to season, but you can always expect a big production, long lines, and a lot of paparazzi hanging around. At most fashion shows there is a packet of paper on every chair called the line sheet, which tells you about the clothing, usually the color and what it is made from, like chantilly lace or angora, so the wholesale buyers know what they are looking at from some distance away from the models. The Marc Jacobs line sheet for this season says nothing about the clothing except that it exists. In fact, half the packet was a list of names that the brand wanted to thank, like movie credits on paper.

In many ways this is the kind of show I hate during Fashion Week, because I am in many ways a purist documentarian interested in the artistic process of the designers, but in other ways it is the perfect show for Fashion Week. Buyers who really want to place a volume order get to see the clothing up close at showroom appointments, and the New York Fashion Week from the beginning was supposed to be a press week, a publicity junket of dozens of high end designers. Market Week, the time for the buyers, is the week after Fashion Week. Most shows hybridize this process, but the Marc Jacobs show is slanted heavily in the direction of entertainment, which makes it easy to see why this is usually the biggest show in town, rivaled in entertainment production value perhaps by Y-3, but certainly not in media impact. As far as the general public and non-fashion media is concerned, this is the big show. More major press shows up for Marc Jacobs than any other show, because the celebrities show up, the light show is impressive, and the PR group keeps a very tight list at the door. It is manufactured exclusivity to some extent, self-feeding season after season, but a real need with venue capacity and security concerns on the other hand.

This is the first time modaCYCLE has been invited to cover the Marc Jacobs show. I was at two a few years ago, before modaCYCLE existed, I think in September 2007 and again February 2008, and the looks were quite different from season to season, though the model type was remarkably similar, even though almost all the girls I knew from those previous shows are now out of the business. Mr. Jacobs tends to cast younger models with thin builds and unforgettable faces. But, if you take the models out of the picture, I have a hard time seeing a connecting line between the collections artistically. I don’t know what Mr. Jacobs struggles against from season to season. If you showed me a strange dress from most of the top American designers and asked me who I thought had created it, for many I could probably guess correctly, because they have these built in concepts that repeat from season to season, favorite tricks and signatures. With Marc Jacobs, I just don’t get where he has been and where he is going, and how it all interrelates. A puzzle.

This season’s collection showed a lot of stripes and bold lines; color here and there, but not on every look, as several were only black and white. Some nice-looking simple coats. They are things that fit women can probably wear with confidence. I was not able to see the clothing up close, refer to the line sheet, or ask any questions of the designer, so your guess is as good as mine as to what we are looking at in these images and what the designs meant to the man behind the curtain.

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